Biography of Martin Beale

The OR Society's Beale Medal is awarded each year in memory of the late Martin Beale. It gives formal recognition to a sustained contribution over many years to the theory, practice, or philosophy of OR in the UK, or to some combination of those areas.

Martin Beale 
8 September 1928 - 23 December 1985

Evelyn Martin Lansdowne Beale was a talented mathematician at school and university. He became a pioneer in the development of linear programming methods at the Admiralty Research Laboratory (ARL), Teddington. He then joined the Corporation for Economic and Industrial Research (CEIR) in 1961 in response to the challenge of applying operational research (OR) and mathematical programming to industrial problems. CEIR became Scicon (Scientific Control Systems Ltd) but Martin remained there being its 'scientific advisor,' finally a title that reflected his strong preference for advancing his subject in a benevolent way despite the commercial pressures of industry. Regularly on Mondays from 1967 he attended the Mathematics Department at Imperial College as a visiting professor. There, at conferences and in his published work, he communicated his extraordinary skill at extracting useful results computationally from mathematical models of real problems.

Most of his papers on particular calculations and on particular techniques are substantial contributions to knowledge, but probably he will be remembered best for his constant and active interest in the development of mathematical programming systems for applying optimisation algorithms painlessly in practice. He wrote (1961 c) that 'The most important part of operational research is educated common sense, and computers have absolutely no common sense', but he planned his systems so well that this defect of computers was negligible. There are no secrets of his success as he believed in open publication of useful discoveries. In all ways he was generous and kind, subject to high standards of honesty and academic integrity. He was devoted to his family and to the Christian faith.

Taken from The Royal Society Publishing Biographical Memoirs
M. J. D. Powell, DOI: 10.1098/rsbm.1987.0002 Published 1 December 1987

Martin Beale